Another Flood Wave Expected in the North

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By Petronella Sibeene

WINDHOEK

Hydrologists have warned of the possibility of loss of more human lives and destruction of agricultural and developmental infrastructure in northern Namibia with more water expected to flow in from Angola.

Guido van Langenhove, a hydrologist in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, yesterday said more rains were received in the northern part of the border area. It is highly likely that there will be more water in the Cuvelai oshanas.

He said water levels are rising again at the flood warning stations between Engela and Okalongo. The possibility of the danger posed by the water to human lives can therefore not be ruled out as well as damage to property and crops and general disruption.

Floods have already affected thousands in the North.

Last week, the Government introduced air rescue service to reach those marooned on small islands.

Heavy rains in neighbouring Zambia and Angola over the last month caused the Zambezi and Kunene rivers to burst their banks, resulting in flooding in the northern parts of the country and eastern Caprivi.

At Katima Mulilo, the flood wave originating in south-east Angola has levelled off at 6.11 metres compared to last year when the water levels were at 7.23 metres.

Upstream levels in the main Zambezi River do not indicate new floods, and water levels in the river are expected to fall in the coming week.

However, the floodplains in the eastern parts of the Caprivi Region have started to fill up.

The water level at Kongola has now reached 3.55 metres, the highest level since 1981.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer for the Mariental Municipality, Paul Nghiwilepo, says there is no major concern regarding the outflow of water from the Hardap Dam.

On Saturday, NamWater opened sluice gates at the dam to release water that had exceeded its 70 percent mark.

Since then, the gates have not been closed as the catchment area continues to receive rains.

According to Nghiwilepo, by midday yesterday, the dam level was at 70.6 percent, with an inflow of 100 cubic metres per second and outflow of 200 metres per second.

Yesterday morning, the dam was 70.8 percent full.

The highest reported inflow was 500 cubic metres recorded at 22h00 on Saturday. The water level was 71.8 percent at that time.

NamWater public relations officer, Tommi Riva Numbala, said the water utility will keep the two sluice gates open as long as the catchment area continues to receive more rain.

He assured that there was no danger yet regarding the outflow of water.

Nghiwilepo said the municipality has installed an electronic system that will enable residents in the area to, at any time, monitor the water situation in the dam and other weather-related matters.

“This we did not have in the past. The system is helping a lot because now the residents can access all the information they need,” he added.

On the Kavango River, the first flood wave is subsiding in Rundu and Andara.

But there have been heavy rains in the upper catchment area in Angola during the past week.

Another flood wave is expected in the coming week, Van Langenhove said.
Regarding the Orange River, water level reached one metre at Seeheim on Sunday night.

The Fish River has been continuously flowing since January 13.

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